Philosophy East and West, vol. 58, no. 2 (2008)


Hiroshi Kojima’s Phenomenological Ontology
Marina Paola Banchetti-Robino, 163

In his book Monad and Thou: Phenomenological Ontology of the Human Being, Japanese philosopher Hiroshi Kojima proposes to redefine the I-Thou relation, first extensively investigated by Martin Buber, and to reconcile the notions of ‘individuality’ and ‘community’ in terms of his new phenomenological ontology of the human being as monad. In this essay, Kojima’s ideas are examined concerning the monad and intersubjectivity, and it is shown how these ideas can be extended and brought to bear on issues concerning human encounters with the environment and, in particular, to nonhuman animals.

Mengzi, Strategic Language, and the Shaping of Behavior
Steven F. Geisz, 190

This essay introduces a way of reading the Mengzi (Mencius) that complicates how we understand what Mengzi is recorded as saying. A pragmatic-strategic reading of the Mengzi is developed here, according to which Mengzi attends to and operates under important pragmatic constraints on speech. Based on a close reading of key passages, it is argued that truth-telling and descriptive accuracy are less important to Mengzi than guiding people along the Confucian path. This reading has implications for our understanding of Mengzi’s philosophical positions and his methods of argumentation, as well as for our understanding of philosophical activity in general.

Awareness Bound and Unbound: Realizing the Nature of Attention
David R. Loy, 223

This essay takes seriously the many Buddhist admonitions about “not settling down in things” and the importance of wandering freely “without a place to rest.” The basic thesis is that delusion (saṃsāra, ignorance) is awareness trapped (stuck), and liberation (nirvāṇa, enlightenment) is awareness freed from grasping. The familiar words “attention” and “awareness” are used to emphasize that the distinction being drawn refers not to some abstract metaphysical entity but simply to how our everyday awareness functions. This way of distinguishing between delusion and enlightenment is not only consistent with basic Buddhist teachings but gives us insight into some of the more difficult ones, such as the way karma works and the Mahāyāna claim that “form is not other than emptiness, emptiness not other than form.” Moreover, this perspective illuminates some aspects of our contemporary life-world, including the particular challenges of modern technology and economics. It is important to see the implications for some of the social issues that concern us today. The constriction or liberation of awareness is not only a personal matter. What do societies do to encourage or discourage its emancipation?

Nothingness and the Work of Art: A Comparative Approach to Existential Phenomenology and the Ontological Foundation of Aesthetics
Roberto Pinheiro Machado, 244

This essay analyzes the relation between nothingness and the work of art, where negation appears as a fundamental element of art. Starting at a discussion of the concept of nothingness in existential phenomenology, it points to the limitations of Heidegger’s notion of nullity and negation, which spring from the denial of the dimension of consciousness to his Dasein. Although Sartre recovers that dimension in his portrayal of the pour-soi, now the idea of nothingness is not taken to its ultimate consequence, where art would appear as a product of consciousness that is entrenched in nothingness. Only through an enlarged notion of consciousness, one that allows the perception of negative experience as intrinsically related to poiesis, will the work of art appear ontologically grounded in a form of Being that searches for its own contradiction. Such an enlarged notion of consciousness appears in the thought of Japanese philosopher Nishida Kitarō, where concepts such as “the place of nothingness” and “pure experience” can serve as ground to an analysis of the relation between nothingness and the work of art.

Being and Value: From the Perspective of Chinese-Western Comparative Philosophy
Yang Guorong, 267

Things as concrete beings contain the dimension of value. Value achieves a conceptual realization in evaluation and transforms itself into actual being by virtue of practice, which in turn imparts a new significance to value, namely value as a human creation. Therefore, being and value are in an interactive dynamic unity, which constitutes the reality of the world and accordingly provides a ground for metaphysics to go beyond interpretation of the world to changing the world.


The Existence of God: Mulla Sadra’s Seddiqin Argument versus Criticisms of Kant and Hume, by Hamidreza Ayatollahy
Reviewed by Nazif Muhtaroğlu, 283

Did Dōgen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It, by Steven Heine
Reviewed by William Harmless, SJ, 286

The Philosophy of Qi: The Record of Great Doubts, translation and introduction by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Reviewed by Jung-Yeup Kim, 289

Islamisches Bilderverbot vom Mittel- bis ins Digitalzeitalter, by A. Ibrić
Reviewed by Richard McGregor, 292

God and Humans in Islamic Thought: ‘Abd al-Jabbar, Ibn Sina and al-Ghazali, by Maha Elkaisy-Friemuth
Reviewed by Patrick Quinn, 293